At the end of the G8 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting from 18-20 April, Farming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda discussed the impacts for African agriculture and development with the the BBC’s ‘Focus on Africa’ programme.
The G8 communique highlighted the fact that the world will need to increase its level of productivity in order to feed the growing population and to avoid the threat of wider global instability due to hunger and struggles for scarce resources.
Dr. Sibanda explained why food availability and food security should be urgent matters for the world’s policymakers:
When we talk of stability we cannot run away from talking about issues of availability… We are also looking at reduced availability – particularly in Africa – where we are not producing enough and we are relying on food imports and food aid. When we look at the agenda for stabilizing prices, particularly stabilizing food availability, we are saying, “How can food be moved between countries?”
There are tariffs and other barriers which need to be addressed, but at the global level, you are really looking at subsidies and protection of markets and the issue of trade. Can we have a trade regime which is equitable and that allows African countries that have excesses in production to sell in global markets and also allows food aid procurement to be sourced from local markets in Africa?
Dr. Sibanda also discussed why food security should remain a top priority despite the financial crisis that the world is also facing at present:
The whole spiral effect of the different crises means that you cannot just say that by addressing the financial crisis everything else will fall into place. As part of addressing the financial crisis, you cannot leave out the issue of food security because the commodity trade market has been disturbed…Agriculture forms the bulk of the commodities that are traded between countries so it is imperative that we look at the issue of food stability and food security globally.
As part of the financial crisis, you need to address the food agenda, and food security is key. You cannot stabilise the financial markets when there is insufficient food.
Listen to the full BBC interview with Dr. Sibanda here:[audio:bbcdrsibanda.mp3]